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+ Donato Wharton - Body Isolations
+ Svalastog - Woodwork
+ Tim Hecker - Harmony In Ultraviolet
+ Rosy Parlane - Jessamine
+ Jarvis Cocker - The Jarvis Cocker Record
+ Múm - Peel Session
+ Deloris - Ten Lives
+ Minimum Chips - Lady Grey
+ Badly Drawn Boy - Born In The U.K.
+ The Hold Steady - Boys And Girls Together
+ The Blood Brothers - Young Machetes
+ The Places - Songs For Creeps
+ Camille - Le Fil
+ Wolf Eyes - Human Animal
+ Christina Carter - Electrice
+ The Decemberists - The Crane Wife
+ Junior Boys - So This Is Goodbye
+ Various Artists - Musics In The Margin
+ Rafael Toral - Space
+ Bob Dylan - Modern Times
+ Excepter - Alternation
+ Chris Thile - How To Grow A Woman From The Ground
+ Brad Mehldau - Live in Japan
+ M Ward - Post-War
+ Various Artists - Touch 25
+ The Mountain Goats - Get Lonely
+ The White Birch - Come Up For Air
+ Camera Obscura - Let's Get Out of This Country
+ Coachwhips - Double Death
+ Various Artists - Tibetan And Bhutanese Instrumental And Folk Music, Volume 2
+ Giuseppe Ielasi - Giuseppe Ielasi
+ Cex - Actual Fucking
+ Sufjan Stevens - The Avalanche
+ Leafcutter John - The Forest And The Sea
+ Carla Bozulich - Evangelista
+ Barbara Morgenstern - The Grass Is Always Greener
+ Robin Guthrie - Continental
+ Peaches - Impeach My Bush
+ Oakley Hall - Second Guessing
+ Klee - Honeysuckle
+ The Court & Spark - Hearts
+ TV On The Radio - Return To Cookie Mountain
+ Awesome Color - Awesome Color
+ Jenny Wilson - Love And Youth
+ Asobi Seksu - Citrus
+ Marsen Jules - Les Fleurs
+ The Moore Brothers - Murdered By The Moore Brothers
+ Regina Spektor - Begin To Hope
+ The 1900s - Plume Delivery EP
+ Alejandro Escovedo - The Boxing Mirror
+ Function - The Secret Miracle Fountain
+ Sonic Youth - Rather Ripped
+ Loscil - Plume
+ Boris - Pink
+ Deadboy And The Elephantmen - We Are Night Sky
+ Glissandro 70 - Glissandro 70
+ Calexico - Garden Ruin (Review #2)
+ Calexico - Garden Ruin (Review #1)
+ The Flaming Lips - At War With The Mystics
+ The Glass Family - Sleep Inside This Wheel
+ Various Artists - Songs For Sixty Five Roses
+ The Fiery Furnaces - Bitter Tea
+ Motorpsycho - Black Hole/Blank Canvas
+ The Red Krayola - Introduction
+ Metal Hearts - Socialize
+ American Princes - Less And Less
+ Sondre Lerche And The Faces Down Quartet - Duper Sessions
+ Supersilent - 7
+ Band Of Horses - Everything All The Time
+ Dudley Perkins - Expressions
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+ The Essex Green - Cannibal Sea
+ Espers - II
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44.1 kHz Archive

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Trembling Blue Stars
The Seven Autumn Flowers

For a certain cadre of cardigan-clad kids, saying "Robert Wratten" is a bit like saying "Stephen Patrick Morrissey." As frontman for twee pioneers the Field Mice, Bobby Wratten etched his name into indie-pop lore, authoring lovelorn'd songs setting sentimental lyrics to summer-of-love-lovin' acid-ish beats and the jangliest of jangling guitars. He entwined his voice with Annemari Davis, who joined the band as an eager fan, and ended up being a defining part of their aesthetic — not to mention seemingly serving as both muse and, subsequently, source of heartache for Bobby. Over the years, Wratten has traipsed through Northern Picture Library — a more melancholic, electronic carryover from Field Mice — and, now, Trembling Blue Stars, the latter act an ever-evolving combo whose albums have veered from exuberant gay-disco to hushed indie-strumming to Byrds-ian pop to dubbed-out head-nodders to, of recent, a melancholy combo playing softly-stepping songs for rainy days and Mondays. It's an evolution that has, curiously, gone strangely undercelebrated — aside from, of course, those circles in which Wratten's treated with total reverence. The 38-year-old has been essentially entwined with Saint Etienne from day one, yet while his friends have managed to marry a cult-like fanbase with a few flickers of grand overground success, Wratten has remained largely underground. A recent re-release of the Field Mice's three albums has gone a great way to redressing the definitions of history — the albums were often unfairly maligned at the time — but, still, there's yet to be a Trembling Blue Stars record to make the big crossover leap, despite the fact that there was a long stretch where TBS were recording for Sub Pop. It'd be lovely if The Seven Autumn Flowers, the outfit's fifth disc, were the one, but perhaps it's time to be content in the fact that Wratten's audience is what it is; and, preaching to the converted or no, the songsmith should be celebrated for what he is, not what he's not. Such contentment seems to have been found by Bobby himself, with this latest longplayer an album that, despite all its misty melancholy, is filled less with lyrics of heartache, and more with words of warmth and romance, Wratten softly singing sentimental sentiments like: "Holding you in the morning/ Listening to the rhythm of your breathing/ Feeling such a need/ You're everything to me" and "I promise not to leave you/ But no one should promise that/ So I just say 'I love you'/ all the days I can."

by Anthony Carew

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